Dundonald wind turbine award nomination

Locogen are delighted with the news that one of our clients, Ore Valley Housing Association (OVHA) has been nominated for ‘Best Community Project’ at the Green Energy Awards, to be presented at the EICC in Edinburgh on December 6th.

It’s an outstanding project, which delivers for OVHA, the community and Scottish government across a number of areas.

OVHA originally considered the possibility for a wind turbine back in 2005, when the Scottish government challenged housing associations to look beyond their principal role as landlords to improve the lives of their tenants and communities in other areas.

Locogen helped OVHA to deliver a 99.5m wind turbine at Dundonald, which we believe is the only community wind energy project in Scotland to be wholly owned by a housing association.

Vital revenue from Dundonald wind turbine

Revenues from the Dundonald wind turbine are being put to great use by OVHA. 50% of that cash goes to improving the association’s housing stock and developing new social housing in the Cardenden area, while the other 50% goes to a community investment fund, providing grants and investments for local projects and enterprises. This is vital additional income for OVHA and for the local community, with the potential to effect real change in the community

The turbine sits proudly at Dundonald, overlooking Cardenden, where OVHA manage the bulk of their 670 properties. It’s an impressive sight but getting to this point was a long haul, with OVHA putting in lots of hard work over 12 years until commissioning in March 2017.

OVHA roll our renewables across portfolio

And it doesn’t stop there. OVHA are now installing 720kW of solar across 360 houses to provide cheap and clean energy to their tenants. The association has also installed the first two electric vehicle charge points in Cardenden and taken delivery of the first electric vehicles for their own fleet. This commitment to a low carbon future is admirable and wouldn’t be possible without revenues from the successful wind turbine project at Dundonald.

The turbine will generate some 50GWh over its 25-year operational life, offsetting more than 25,000 tonnes of CO2. To date the turbine is performing significantly ahead of expectations in terms of both generation achieved and revenue secured and this will help OVHA support their further low carbon aspirations well into the future.

Dundonald wind turbine: a long road to success

Originally, Locogen Director of Consulting, Ian McLean, helped OVHA to identify four potential wind turbine sites, of which three progressed to the planning stage and two achieved planning consent. Withdrawal of the other consented site complicated the procurement of finance but Locogen was able to help with this process and many other challenges including:

•         An original grid connection offer which would have required laying of cable through Cardenden. Detailed discussions with Scottish Power culminated in a more cost effective and practical point of connection being agreed;

•         Historic mining works in the area that led to the requirement for a piled foundation;

•         Property issues leading to a less than optimal route to site and significant requirement for off-site works to allow for delivery of the turbine components;

•         Working around the significant local utilities of this built-up area;

•         Turbine delivery being complicated by the new Queensferry crossing works;

•         Project financials being adversely impacted by the reduced FiT tariff levels and slide in the post-Brexit exchange rates; and

•         Delays in achieving the property agreements for the site.

With so many obstacles to overcome, project timelines tightened considerably and achieving the required FiT commissioning deadlines became more challenging.

Outstanding performance from the Dundonald wind turbine – and the OVHA team

Thankfully, however, the team at OVHA proved to be extremely determined, and this focus, coupled with guidance and support from Locogen, ensured those deadlines were met.

The turbine’s performance has exceeded expectations and this success has directly contributed to OVHA’s exciting programme of low carbon projects.

Ian McLean, Director of Consulting at Locogen, said: “OVHA really is an exemplar organisation when it comes to the imaginative use of renewables. They grasped the Scottish government’s challenge to improve the lives of those in their community and revenue from the Dundonald turbine allows their community investment fund to do just that.”

“This was certainly a challenging project but the result is even better than expected and is just reward for the efforts of everyone involved. We’ve been working with OVHA on this project right from the start, from feasibility, planning and consenting on to project managing the construction phase. Now, our asset management team monitors all aspects of the turbine’s performance and handles administration of health & safety and contractual duties. We’re really pleased with both the financial and technical performance of the turbine and delighted to be associated with this project. Being shortlisted for the Best Community Project at the Green Energy Awards provides well-deserved recognition for the team at OVHA.”

Andrew Saunders, CEO of the Ore Valley Group, said: “Seeing the commencement of electricity generation from our wind turbine was an exciting moment in what has been a long and eventful journey. We appreciate the enthusiasm, hard work and expertise provided by Locogen throughout this time and we look forward to continuing to generate renewable energy and utilising the income generated, to enhance community initiatives and support the development of sustainable social enterprise in the area.”